Arlington Makes Plans to Connect Minuteman, Mystic River Paths

A person rides a bike along the Minuteman path in East Arlington.
The Minuteman bike path in East Arlington, pictured in May 2019.

The Town of Arlington is soliciting feedback on a possible new multi-use path that would connect the Alewife Brook Greenway to Arlington Center and the Minuteman Bike Path along the Mystic River waterfront.

The proposed path would run about 1.7 miles along the Mystic River and its Mill Brook tributary. Starting from the Minuteman Path near Buzzell Field Park in Arlington Center, the path would run northeast along Summer Street and the Mystic Valley Parkway to the Lower Mystic Lake. From there, the path would head southeast along the Mystic riverfront and connect with existing multi-use paths at the confluence of the Mystic River and Alewife Brook, where the Alewife Brook Greenway runs south to the Alewife Red Line station, and the Mystic River greenway extends further east to downtown Medford.

Minuteman-Mystic Locator Map

Much of this route already has informal pathways and sidewalks in place, but the proposed project would create a consistent 10- to 12-foot-wide paved pathway along the entire route, while also upgrading intersections along the way to provide safer crossings for bike riders and pedestrians.

For instance, at the High Street/Route 60 bridge over the Mystic River, there are currently two wide traffic circles on each riverbank that create a daunting barrier between the river and surrounding residential neighborhoods.

The bridge itself is over 55 feet wide from curb to curb, for only two lanes of traffic. Project consultants from Toole Design Group are recommending narrowing the roadway on the bridge and the two adjacent traffic circles to create space for new bike paths on both sides of the bridge itself and around both traffic circles:

Sketch plan for High Street Bridge traffic calming measures, showing smaller roundabouts on either side of the bridge and new bike paths on the bridge itself.
The High Street/Route 60 bridge over the Mystic River between Arlington and Mystic is currently over 55 feet wide from curb to curb for two lanes of traffic. Consultants are recommending narrowing the roadway on the bridge and the two adjacent roundabouts to create space for bike paths on both sides of the bridge. Courtesy of Toole Design and the Town of Arlington.
A sketch of two alternatives under consideration for the on-street mutli-use path along Summer Street in Arlington. The first alternative would provide a wider bike and pedestrian path, plus a landscaped buffer for trees and other plantings. The second alternative provides a slightly narrower path and replaces the landscaped area with on-street parking.
Two alternatives under consideration for a proposed on-street mutli-use path along Summer Street in Arlington. Courtesy of Toole Design and the Town of Arlington.

Near Arlington Center, consultants are also recommending a road diet for Summer Street and a short section of Mill Street near its intersection with the Minuteman that would shrink motor vehicle lanes to provide space for a 11- or 12-foot-wide shared-use pathway along the southern side of the street.

Two potential layouts are under consideration: one would provide a slightly wider pathway and space for trees and other plantings, but at the expense of on-street parking; the other would provide narrower lanes for moving vehicles and a slightly narrower pathway to make room for parking, at the expense of a landscaped buffer between the multi-use path and the street (see cross-sections at left).

The project would also introduce traffic calming upgrades at the intersection of Summer Street, Mystic Valley Parkway, and Mystic Street, where the proposed path would make a diagonal crossing from the southern corner of that intersection to the northern corner, at the entrance to the parkway.

Town officials and project consultants presented their draft design concepts at a public meeting on March 30, and the presentation from that meeting includes additional details on the project and its proposed design.

The Town of Arlington is soliciting feedback on the proposed designs in an online survey (tinyurl.com/MystictoBikewaySurvey2) until April 15, and a final public meeting to review the report’s final recommendations will be held sometime in June.

 

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG